Tulsa Woman Organizes Event To Support Caregivers, People Living With Sickle Cell Disease

Nineteen years ago, Velvet Brown Watts gave birth to her son who was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease. She said it’s been a challenging journey, but now she is working to raise awareness of this blood disorder within the community.

Wednesday, April 24th 2024, 8:50 am

By: News On 6


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Sickle Cell Disease is a blood disorder that impacts approximately 100,000 people in the United States. SCD occurs in one out of 365 African American births, according to SickleOklahoma.org.

Nineteen years ago, Velvet Brown Watts gave birth to her son who was diagnosed with SCD. She said it’s been a challenging journey, but now she is working to raise awareness of this blood disorder within the community.

Velvet will be holding the 3rd annual Mother’s Day High Tea event to celebrate women living with SCD. She joins us on the Arca Continental Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages Porch to share more about it.

High Tea Event

What is SCD?

Sickle Cell Disease is an inherited blood disorder that affects the red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Sickle cells are hard, stiff, and sticky. They get stuck in the vessels and cause traffic jams in that part of the body, which causes extreme pain. It also kills off the oxygen in the area.

How are you personally connected to Sickle Cell?

My husband and I had a baby in 2004 who was diagnosed with SCD. He is now 19 years of age. Throughout the 19-year journey, there have been many challenges, with our recent of him needing dialysis treatment and a kidney due to the complications of SCD. We are working hard to coordinate his care as we continue to thrive.

How many years have you been holding this event?

This is the 3rd year of the program. Each year it has grown and is getting better. This year we will award our first scholarship to a young lady pursuing their education.

For people who do not know about Sickle Cell, what should they know?

There are several things people should know. It is genetic, and it cannot be caught by anyone else. It can impact anyone. SCD is about ethnicity (ancestry- where you may have come from) more than race/color. There are new therapies to give families hope. Oklahoma has a significant community of people with this disease and people should test early.

How can people help others with SCD?

Giving blood, donating funds to help families, volunteering.

How will this event help people with SCD?

It will help to raise funds to help families with mental health, medications, transportation, food security, youth education and transition programs. Women's Empowerment Mother's Day High Tea will recognize and celebrate women living with SCD, caregivers, and community servant-leaders in the sickle cell and maternal health space.

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